Why do people who promised to love and honor their partners find it difficult to share their feelings?

There may be many reasons, but I do know, from my years of experience as a relationship coach, that most often dishonesty in marriage begins when partners are not totally open and truthful about their thoughts and feelings on a daily basis.

Notice there are two parts to this: open and truthful. That means you need to express your thoughts and feelings — especially those about which your partner is unaware and, then, you need to be truthful in answering any questions your partner asks you.

For instance, suppose that you are bored with your marital relationship. You are bored with doing the same things, eating the same meals at the same time, seeing the same people socially. You are bored with the same sexual routine in the same bed.

It is perfectly natural and healthy for human beings to crave novelty and stimulation.

In an honest, healthy marriage, you can say to your spouse, "You know I love you, but I'm really bored with the predictable, everyday rut we've gotten into and my guess is that you are, too. Can we talk about this?"

Then, using direct and honest communication, you can work together to make positive changes.

In unhealthy marriages, partners are not honest with each other and look outside the marriage for what is missing in the marriage and within themselves. How can you keep your marriage honest and vibrant?

Know yourself. What excites you? What bores you? How do you want to spend your time? What do you need from your partner?

Know your partner. If you think you already do, remember that people change over time. Conduct a playful interview on "likes and dislikes" as though he or she is a stranger.

Communicate. Openly, truthfully and with kindness. Ask for what you need. For example: "I need more frequent sex." or "I need more time for intimate conversation."

Learn to listen without interrupting, advising or judging. Ask, "Is there more you'd like to say?" Reflect back to your partner what you understood them to mean. "So you would like us to spend time sharing events of day after dinner with the TV turned off?" Just listen. Wait to be asked for advice or solutions.

Realize your relationship is a living organism. Without your time, your attention, your energy and your loving understanding, it will die.

With loving effort it will flourish, grow and be a constant source of emotional satisfaction.

Based in Rockport, life and relationship coach Susan Britt, M.Ed., teaches individuals, couples, and families to resolve relationship conflicts, achieve life and career goals, and accelerate personal growth. Questions and comments may be addressed to her at susanbritt1@verizon.net.

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